Tuesday, July 29, 2014

“What would a good, but not ridiculously good tipper do here?”

My husband and I had an amazing summer, we travelled to Antigua for a dream wedding on the beach and then after returning home, we threw a big party to celebrate with all of our friends.  The trip was so incredible and the party was fantastic, but there was one challenge – we both had absolutely no idea if/when/how much to tip.  We were completely confused.  We even spoke to some fellow resort guests in Antigua to get their advice & they were equally as confused. 

No wonder tipping is so confusing, doing a google search I quickly found several articles with conflicting advice.  Not even Emily Post has concrete advice on what to do in all occasions. 

We had such excellent service on our trip and we wanted to show our appreciation, but let’s face it, we spent a great deal on this trip and we wanted to be smart with our money.  Even the party when we got home was confusing, we knew we should tip the catering staff, but how much?  Does the standard 15% rule apply?  If so, that is a lot of money – we had a catered dinner for 75 guests.  It can get out of hand really quickly.  Is it different if its table service versus a buffet? We did our best to muddle through, but I am not sure if we gave the correct amount. 
My husband and I try to be very sensitive to the staff who serve us in restaurants.  Waiting on tables is hard, and most of these folks rely on tips, as their base salary is miniscule.  At our favorite restaurants, we often give more than 20% - we feel like these servers have become friends and we value and appreciate what they do.  I simply love the fact that when I go to one of my favorite little sports bars, not only do they know my name, but often my favorite beer is waiting on the table for me, and the server will say “I saw you coming”.  It’s like my own real-life version of going to the Cheers bar. 
I want to show value for good service, I want to make sure people know I appreciate what they do, but I also don’t really have tons of extra cash around.  I find myself always guessing and wondering if I have done the right thing. 

And if tipping is confusing for us, just think about folks who are visiting here from other countries. My husband and I are hoping to do more travelling, now that my kids are grown, but I am not looking forward to this tipping confusion on every trip we take.  I have collected a few tipping resource links – I hope these are helpful if you are like me, and you are confused about how much to tip. 



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